I touched on this topic briefly yesterday, unintentionally and tangentially, but the truth is that if you like to read—and I do—there are many free reading sources out there, besides your local library. That is, of course, if you own or use a tablet, laptop, desktop or smart phone. These free resources are located mostly in the public domain, or they have become available for free through a Creative Commons license. This is great news for those who write, produce films, or create anything, for reading represents one of those artist dates that writer Julia Cameron of The Artist’s Way says we all need to make with ourselves to fill up our creative well with ideas, impressions and intentions. It’s one of the least expensive ways we can use to boost our imagination batteries. Take fairy tales, for instance, and consider the images they evoke, and where these images might take you when you tap into your creativity.
Oregon glassblower Sarita of North Light Glass, for example, created this beautiful glass ornament she says is part of her Mermaid Series—a delicate “pipe” whose swirling colors remind you of the shifting colors beneath the ocean waves.
Virginia ceramic artist Sandy Robertson of Enchanted Mushroom Land describes her fairy door below as an “Enchanted Home for the wee folk in your life.”
Might Peter Pan’s Tinkerbell been the inspiration for these gorgeous fairy wing earrings, designed by Canadian artist Jaci of Seelie Court?
The hair stick below, carved in holly wood by artist Tanja Sova of North Carolina, was obviously inspired by tales of unicorns.
Who doesn’t picture Red Riding Hood’s cape exactly as shown below? The beautiful wood blend cape was sewn by Chrononaut Mercantile, located in Maine.
Ohio’s Debra Faulkner of His Paisley Queen takes us on a magical carpet ride with this truly amazing hammock.
According to American fantasy, science fiction, and children’s book writer Jane Yolen,”The tales of Elfland do not stand or fall on their actuality but on their truthfulness, their speaking to the human condition, the longings we all have for the Faerie Other.” If Jane is correct—and I think she is—fairy tales have the power to make us search deep inside ourselves for human truths. I can’t help thinking of the modern novel by John Gardner, Grendel, told from the perspective of the monster in an epic tale with strong fairy tale elements, Beowulf. Gardner’s story about Grendel helps us to understand that villainy is not black and white, or at the very least we come to understand the tragic underpinnings that form an evil character.
Scientist Albert Einstein would say that fairy tales also stretch our imaginations. ““When I examine myself and my methods of thought,” he says, “I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.” Certainly the artists’ creations shown in this post are evidence of the role fairy tales play in regard to creativity.
Fairy tales are not just for children. Walt Disney based his Magic Kingdom on a fairy tale model, we talk about stories, romances and lives with a fairy tale ending, and let’s not forget about fairy tale weddings planned for and by the celebrities. Films such as “Ever After,” “Ella Enchanted,” “The Princess Bride” and “Mirror Mirror” earn big dollars on the silver screen. There is a resurgence of modern retakes on old fairy tales with television series such as “Once Upon a Time,” “Grimm,” and “The Charmings.” There’s even a fairy tale-suggestive gadget called Magic Wand that connects Apple’s Magic Trackpad to your Apple Wireless Keyboard, and a stain remover stick by the same name, made by Dritz. Let’s face it: fairy tales are not just magical; they’re big business.
Although this post can’t possibly be an all-in-one resource for free fairy tales you can explore to feed your Muse, here are a few places you can locate fairy tales from around the world, besides your local library or bookstore:
- American Folklore (actually contains tales from around the world)
- Fairy Tales of the World
- Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts
- Google Books Fairy Tales
- Japanese Fairy Tales
- Native Fairy Tales of South Africa
- Norwegian Folk Tales
- Open Library Fairy Tales
- The Chinese Fairy Book
- The Project Gutenberg EBook of Favorite Fairy Tales, by Various
- Radio New Zealand’s Grimm’s Fairy Tales Audio Collection
- SurLaLune Fairy Tales
- World of Tales
Don’t forget that you can download a free book reader for your smart phone, such as Free Books for iPad by Digital Press Publishing or Bluefire Reader, and simply search for “fairy tales.” You’ll be surprised at how many collections are available.
Have you ever designed something or written a poem or story that was inspired by a fairy tale?
© 2014 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.